On Friday, July 29, 2016, the German Marshall Fund of the United States hosted Bulgarian Minister of Foreign Affairs Daniel Mitov (MMF ’08) for a conversation on Europe after the NATO Warsaw Summit. The discussion was moderated by GMF President Karen Donfried.
Mitov began by detailing the takeaways from the recent NATO Warsaw Summit. Specifically, he highlighted the political consensus and spirit of unity that was on full display in Warsaw, even in the wake of a pending U.K. exit from the EU. Additionally, Mitov addressed the need to find key areas in which the EU and NATO can collaborate and solve common challenges. In this vein of collaboration, Mitov praised the joint declaration reached by the EU and NATO at the Summit.
Given the many challenges facing Europe today, Mitov underscored a continued need to create an agenda of stability and unity for the Alliance. Specifically, Mitov applauded NATO’s progress regarding its commitment to cybersecurity, particularly given Bulgaria’s recently demonstrated vulnerability to cyber-attacks. He also praised NATO’s commitment to the open-door policy, the ratification of Montenegro as a NATO member-state, the importance of Eastern Europe as a continued strategic focus, and members’ commitments to increased military spending.
As NATO implements the conclusions of the Summit, Mitov noted that “new challenges require hard and soft security investment.” He also spoke to a forward presence of NATO in the Black Sea region which would address defense and deterrence capabilities without provoking aggression across the NATO border. While there were many positive results from the Summit, Mitov implored that greater unity, engagement, and commitment from NATO member states, as well as its neighbors, will be needed to confront the Alliance’s ongoing challenges.